The Cost Of Thanksgiving Dinner Continues To Decline

The cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest since 2013 and second-lowest since 2011. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day table, the average cost for this year’s dinner for 10 is $49.12 – 75-cents less than last year’s feast.

Director of market intelligence for AFBF, John Newton, says the price per pound of the 16 pound turkey plays a major role in the total cost of the meal.

The trend in the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner over the past few years has been slightly lower. Newton says that’s good for consumers, but not for farmers and ranchers.

The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk – all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

Because most turkeys are bought frozen, the recommendation is to buy it a week before Thanksgiving and let it thaw in the refrigerator. However, with that window already gone, Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee says there’s another option that is safe and effective.

The minimum temperature for an oven-roasted turkey is 325-degrees. As a rule-of-thumb, a 15 pound turkey takes about four hours to cook. But Blakeslee says a meat thermometer is the most accurate way to check doneness.

If you want turkey for sandwiches or other dishes later in the week, buy a bird big enough to accommodate those extra meals. Also, a turkey is about 70% white meat and 30% dark meat, so buy a bird that gives your family plenty of the meat they prefer.